Trade and economic relations
Ukraine's membership of the WTO in 2008, the completion of the negotiations for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA is an integral part of the Association Agreement) and the introduction of autonomous trade measures could further deepen already promising economic partnership.
External trade is vitally important for both the Ukrainian and EU economies. Trade is an engine for growth and jobs and has a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of people and businesses. Increased trade and competition can lower prices, provide better quality and greater choice for consumers and create more and better jobs for both trading partners.
The EU is one of the most open economies in the world, with very low average applied tariffs, and is committed to trade liberalisation for the benefits of all. International trade provides employment for around 18% of the labour force and generates a 7% wage premium for EU workers. The EU was a strong supporter of Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which Ukraine joined in 2008, as it believed, and still does, that closer economic integration and increased trade with Ukraine can promote economic growth in Ukraine.
Building on that membership, the EU and Ukraine launched negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as part of a wider Association Agreement.These negotiations were completed on 19 October 2011 and the text of the Agreement was initialled in 2012.
On 27 June 2014, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was signed by European Union Heads of State and Government and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Brussels. It will enter into force provisionally from 1 November 2014; although Title IV of the Association Agreement (which establishes a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA)) is planned to enter into force provisionally on 31 December 2015. In order to maintain its support for Ukrainian exporters, the EU will extend its autonomous trade measures (which have been into force since 23 April 2014) up to the same date.
The effect of the autonomous trade measures is to advance the implementation of the EU obligations under the tariff section of the DCFTA. In other words, the EU has already begun to reduce or eliminate its customs duties on goods originating in Ukraine, allowing Ukrainian exporters better access to the EU market. At the end of 2015, the full DCFTA should be provisionally applied. The reason for provisional implementation (rather than complete implementation) is that the Agreement has to be ratified by all 28 EU Member States, which may still take some time as each Member State has to comply with different internal procedures.